Food & Drink

April 5, 2012

Beer pairing with South Florida Beer Blog and Brown Distributing

I invited South Florida Beer Blog a.k.a. Dave Crisafi, beer ninja to be a guest presenter in my pairings class at FIU; deviating from the norm of wine I thought it would be fun to have  Dave come and talk to the students about all things beer. I’ve known Dave since day one of South Florida Food and Wine (SFFW). Dave was the first blogger to put me on his blogroll; no one had ever heard of SFFW or me for that matter and Dave took the plunge, kind of  like dropping the shot into an Irish Car Bomb, he’s just that kind of guy; really cool and really laid back. Unbeknownst to many of us at the time (3 years ago), Dave was also a beer ninja in training, translated, Dave took his passionate hobby of beer and turned it into a lucrative career as Beer Ninja extraordinaire for Fresh Beer/Brown Distributing.

Anyone who knows Dave, knows he’s not the excitable type, he just goes with the flow, and his presentation was very much like that, easy, unassuming and informational. We all learned quite a bit from Dave last night but the one point driven home was how to change your passé perception of beer and discover a whole new appreciation for the evolving beverage. A beer tasting is just like a wine tasting, you taste in a gradient manner from light to heavy. I personally categorize beers three ways; 1) a drinking beer, one that can easily be consumed and doesn’t need food 2) a  sipping beer, one that is robust and requires time to sit back and enjoy it, think cognac here. and 3) a pairing beer, one that needs food.

We tasted five beers starting with Blue Point Toasted Lager, a mild, medium bodied beer with trace hop bitterness. I liked this beer, this for me is a drinking beer; ice cold 2 or 3 on a hot day. Next in the lineup was a local favorite, Monk in the Trunk from Jupiter, Florida. I really liked this one, another easy drinking beer, medium bodied, no food required, just the desire to drink. And the last of the drinking beers, border-lining pairing  for me was the canned, Oskar Blues Dale’s Pale Ale. There is a lot of pine and citrus notes in this beer that came right at me, but not so overwhelming that I didn’t enjoy it. To fully enjoy this beer I need food to mellow out the composition; it worked well with the pairing of blue cheese and roasted chicken.

Moving right along, we progressed to the Victory Golden Monkey. I don’t favor the combination of sweet and savory. At all. Not in my food and not in my beverages. I really prefer to keep salt away from sugar. My first sip of this strong pale ale assaulted me with spice; because of my sensitivity to anything remotely sweet and savory my tastebuds go on high alert. After the first taste I said out loud, “ooh, cinnamon, nutmeg, spice” and Dave said, ” it’s coriander.” To my reply, “I want to pair this with an oatmeal cookie.”  Dave said “try the Gouda cheese with it”. Nope, didn’t work for me, I need that oatmeal cookie.

And closing out the night was the tall, dark and handsome Cigar City Maduro Oatmeal Brown from Tampa, Florida. The first thing I said, once again out loud, ” Oh this one will take you all the way home, this is a dessert beer. Chocolate cake” Dave just smiled. When I’m at a tasting I automatically go into pairing mode. The relationship between  food and drink helps me remember the finer nuances of what I’ve had to drink and eat, with the outcome being similar to a marriage made in heaven, a friendship or some ghastly experience standing in line at the grocery store. The Maduro could be a sipping beer for some, and I could sip it too, but the overwhelming desire to pair this hunky ale with chocolate cake wins out for me.

So next up, South Florida Beer Blog and South Florida Food and Wine is planning their long over due, He said beer, She said wine event. Stay tuned and until then, drink good beer.


2011 Te Wahi

Cloudy Bay’s Te Wahi, Pinot Noir 2011

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Laetitia Estate Wines

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Laetitia Vineyard & Winery produces estate wines; Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Syrah, and Pinot Gris that showcase the distinctive qualities of the Arroyo Grande Valley. Located in Southern San Luis Obispo County, the propert...
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NADIA Sauvignon Blanc

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NADIA is the baby sister to Laetitia Vineyard & Winery located in the Santa Barbara Highlands of California. NADIA is located on an elevated plot of land bordered by chalky cliffs where the vines bask in the sun by day an...
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Coffee. photo credit:

Where to get Free Coffee on National Coffee Day 2014

It’s always something, and national food and drink holidays are no exception. While seemingly silly and superfluous it’s a public relations dream come true. How some of these commemorative days come into being is ironic...
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